“What’s up with your book?”
I’ve fielded this question from many readers lately.
If you pre-ordered Tropical Plants and How To Love Them because you either read this post, or this article, or listened to this interview, or found out the book was ranked as Amazon’s number one new release in cool-climate gardening for many weeks (yay!); the delay statements that you may be receiving from your bookseller, paired with a lack of weekly articles and seasonal newsletters on this site, might make you wonder if something’s up.
Or better, if I’ve finally decamped to a remote island without an internet connection.
Let me just dwell on that thought for a moment.
Still dwelling…what a terrific idea.
But no. I’m here, and I did write it. I promise. This is not a case of Marianne up until two AM each night with the laptop and whiskey bottle, desperately trying to finish the last 2000 words of brilliant prose on tropical plants while her editor sends threatening emails through corporate legal teams.
That was last year.
Just kidding – my editor is super nice, I can’t even imagine what that would look like.
And I drink gin, not whiskey.
Nope, as with most things over the last year, it’s all. About. COVID. Here’s an explanation from Quarto, my publisher, with the reasons why a virus can affect a book:
Due to global shipping and distribution channel slow-downs related to Covid-19, most products, including books, are experiencing delivery delays worldwide. These delays are the result of issues with limited shipping container availability, limited space on shipping vessels and rail transport, and overall port congestion, all of which are creating delays in the delivery of inventory to our warehouse. This in turn has caused unavoidable delays in the distribution of books to our accounts and ultimately to our customers. We apologize for any frustration and appreciate your patience and understanding through these unprecedented times. We promise our books will be worth the wait!
As you see, the explanation is generalized because, sadly, I’m not the only one whose book is caught in the pipeline (and I don’t mean the Suez Canal). Many authors from many publishing houses are having to switch from gin to whiskey right now.
Some worldwide ports are ahead of the game as they are closer to the printer, so if you are reading this from Australia or Europe, you may already have the book you ordered. Last week I was texted by two friends in the UK who wanted to tell me how happy they were to receive their copy, and I had to ask them to text a few photos, just so I could see what it looked like in print.
Here I thought it was challenging enough to write a book during a pandemic, but it turns out to be even tricker getting it read.
So…..THANK YOU very much for your patience during this time. The good news is that if you are gardening in Zones 8 or colder, you probably won’t see any “outside” tropical plants at your garden center for the next few weeks until the weather warms, so you can concentrate on all your sweet temperates right now and look forward to the summer with a new guidebook in hand.
Meanwhile, if you have pre-ordered the book, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I would be happy to send you a bookmark and an autographed book plate to affix when it arrives.
And as for that lack of posting…..
Fall and winter have been busy seasons and much of my writing energy has gone into the new series of opinion pieces I am doing for the American Horticultural Society’s magazine The American Gardener; working behind the scenes to bring the new, improved GardenRant site to life (where I am a Ranter-writer); and to review a host of new gardening books that thrilled me over the cold winter months.
Through the magic of Zoom, I’ve also been speaking to audiences here and abroad about the new book and how to successfully incorporate tropical accents into your landscape. Brookside Gardens is sponsoring one of these virtual classes in May, and you can sign up here.
Due to COVID, the Chelsea Flower Show — and consequently our CarexTours trip — was rescheduled for September. It’s a first for the Show and we have our fingers crossed that all will fit into place for that trip and the subsequent trip to the Gardens of Normandy which I am leading directly afterwards.
You can find itineraries and prices at CarexTours if you have been anxious to get traveling again! In the meantime, may I suggest a visual appetizer in the form of Carolyn Mullet’s wonderful book, Adventures in Eden.
My laboring energy has gone into the renovation of the kitchen garden (currently flattened and ready for building a greenhouse scheduled to arrive in late April), Habitat Nest building (more on that in another post), and brush clearing in the woodland garden with a dodgy back.
Even if it’s not written about every week, life and gardening is going full steam ahead here as I’m sure it is at your place. The winter aconites, cyclamen, and snowdrops have been and gone and now the bluebells, primroses, chinodoxa and sanguinaria are beginning to emerge. The valley is awash in daffodils and the redbuds are beginning to create that beautiful pink haze that tells you that you can soon put away the warm gloves.
And the whiskey.
I hope you will consider following the smalltowngardener Instagram or Facebook accounts which allow the sharing of quick snaps when it’s just not possible to sit down and write – particularly when hampered by an even dodgier internet connection. (Though Elon Musk promises to sort that out soon.)
And, if you are in the Maryland/Virginia/West Virginia area, please join me on May 22nd at Thanksgiving Farms for the book’s launch party. I’ll be happy to answer your questions, show you some beautiful tropical and subtropical plants, maybe share a beer at their attached brewery, and of course, sign your copy of the book, which my editor assures, promises, and swears will be with all of us before the roses start blooming.
Enjoy this glorious spring!